Jackie and family-
Sue and I were stunned and deeply saddened when we learned of Barry's sudden and premature death last month and have been praying for all of you since we heard the news. We pray that God may be a source of comfort, peace and consolation for you.
Sue and I always looked forward to our lunches and other encounters at the Baker meetings over the last several years. Jackie, you and Barry were great role models for us from the days I worked for Barry in Sydney- now almost 28
years ago- and we always treasured the time we spent with you. We were so pleased that our friendship with you lasted over the years. One of our favorite pictures to this day depicts our three-year old daughter, Emily, asleep on Barry's shoulders as we toured London together in 1990.
I have read with joy and agreement so many of the wonderful words that have been spoken in tribute to Barry. I have many of my own fond memories of Barry's intellect, high standards, compassion and commitment to serving clients as I had the privilege to work with him to build the Coudert Sydney office for two years in the mid-1980s. In addition to all of the above, Barry impressed me as a great leader and a person I wanted so much to emulate when I became a partner in the firm a couple of years later in Moscow. One of my fondest memories of Barry was the great celebration we had in the office when he announced at the end of 1986 that Sydney had achieved profitability for the first time. I think we cleared expenses by $1,000, but it didn't matter to Barry. He made everyone in the office feel special about his or her contribution to that important objective.
As has been noted, Barry was a legal entrepreneur and pioneer. He was the first to have a vision for Coudert offices in Sydney and London which combined under one roof U.S. and, first, Australian solicitors and then English solicitors. What seems commonplace today was actually conceived and implemented for the first time under Barry's leadership. It was not without risk! There were many days in Sydney when we expected the Law Society to shut us down for the unauthorized practice of law, but we persevered because
of Barry's skill in dealing with the opposition.
I learned many wonderful lessons from Barry about being a good lawyer, but he taught me most about a particular aspect of leadership that has had a profound impact on my career. In 1987 just after major reforms had taken place in the Soviet Union, Coudert, in particular Charlie Torem who led the Coudert Paris office, began to consider whether the firm should open a Moscow office. Barry decided, after consulting with Owen Nee who had built the Coudert China practice, that Coudert should have an office in Moscow and that I should be the one to open it. That was fine with me because I had joined the firm in 1980 in New York in part because I thought, having focused my academic career on the Soviet Union, that Coudert just might be the kind of firm that would actually consider opening an office in Moscow.
So you can imagine my enthusiasm seven years later when my dream began to be fulfilled!
As an associate in what was at the time the greatest and most established international law firm in the world, I was of course powerless to influence the process. But Barry took up the cause. He arranged for me to travel to Moscow with Charlie Torem and Coudert's then Chairman, Jim Sitrick, and he lobbied directly partners who opposed or were uncertain about the initiative. He arranged for me to attend and even speak at key firm meetings. He coached me at every step. I remember when he had me draft a business plan. Having absolutely no idea what I was doing, I projected having one lawyer in the first year, adding a legal assistant in year two and them a second lawyer in year three. Disgusted at my lack of vision, he instructed me to re-write the plan telling me "You want to get people excited about this? I want to see a plan for ten lawyers by year three!" Ever the visionary, but by year three of the Moscow office we actually did have ten lawyers in our Soviet Practice, located not only in Moscow but also in New York and Washington!
Now for the great leadership lesson: at some point in the flurry of activity leading up to our departure from Sydney for Moscow, I asked Barry a question, his answer to which has shaped how I have related to attorneys who have worked for me ever since. I asked him why he was investing so much time in the Moscow initiative when I couldn't see how he would benefit from it and it was creating a lot of dislocation in our Australian practice. His answer: "At some point in your career you become more interested in, and more pleased by, the success of others than your own success". For me this epitomized Barry's unselfishness and commitment to the development of my career. I am sure that many others have been blessed, as I was, by Barry in this way.
Sue and I hope and pray for all of you that the wonderful memories you share of that great man you called husband, father, grandfather or just plain Barry will compensate for the hurt and loss of his death. We will continue to pray for you, and may you know God's richest blessings in these hard times.
Love, Rich and Sue